Ms. Gokturk                                                                                                   



The Mid-Course Literary Analysis Essay (100 points)


YOUR TASK: Write an essay (4-6 pages, Times New Roman, 12 font, double spaced) that explores the ideas presented thus far in the course.  You may either write about Zoline’s story alone OR develop a controlling idea about any two works we have read thus far (The Time Machine, “Adam and No Eve,” “A Pail of Air,” “The Last Flower,” “There Will Come Soft Rains,” “The Heat Death of the Universe,” Black Mirror’s “White Christmas,” “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,”). Please submit your final essay, double spaced to Turnitin by the due date. Plan ahead: get yourself to the Writing Center at some stage of your essay for extra help.  Get documentation to submit for extra credit.


Your controlling idea [thesis] should be a specific, interesting, and an arguable position. Your job is to explore the text/s and teach your reader what you found. Beyond stating the obvious, your position should explore why/how the author/s has/have created this work.  In other words, what commentary does the author make about society/values?


You should also find NATURAL WAYS to include the author’s techniques within your analysis.  The obvious ones are characterization and symbol, but there are many others to consider: shift in tone, juxtaposition, motif, metaphorical language, allusions, etc. Do not say, “The author uses characterization to develop theme.” Rather, “Sarah Boyle is characterized as a misanthropic, obsessive woman experiencing a nervous breakdown because she forced into the life of domestic servitude….”



Idea Bank for Zoline Only Essay:

1.                  Before you read any of the prompts, think about what really struck you.  Consider a theory, question or an idea that you could use to discuss the text.  You may also find a lens (for example, a Freudian reading, a Jungian archetype, determinism, or any other concept you learned about in another area that you could use to think about this story…)

  1. Select one or more of the terms from the pre-reading list to help you construct a controlling idea. The terms fall under two categories: specifically cited in the story OR potential lenses for how to explore the story.

Cited in the story

a.       Tantalaus

b.      Mind’s Eye

c.       Baba

d.      Dada

e.       Insect in amber

f.        Your choice!

External Lenses:

g.       This story is a fugue + how/why

h.       This story is a Dada text. + how/why

i.         This is a feminist text + how/why

j.        Emerson’s Transparent Eyeball

k.      Explore how this is an Absurd text (commentary on the human condition) and how this enhances social commentary (i.e., being forced into a role as housewife). + how/why

l.         Sarah Boyle is modern Kali Goddess of Chaos. + how/why

m.     Your choice! 

  1. Consider a topic and develop a stance:
    1. This story uses art is used to make social commentary. What is the social commentary? + how/why
    2. This story uses the theme of opposing forces/dualities to develop (fill in an idea). + how/why
    3. This story uses the theme of [choose one] reproduction / mass production / replication / cancer / absorption / etc. to reveal _____. + how/why
    4. This world is sick and dying because _____. + how/why
    5. This story’s emphasis on color/art/music shows (insert theme). + how/why
    6. Explore patterns / math / number significance.  What is the mathematical truth of this text? + how/why
    7. Explore one or more other analogy (beyond Entropy/Heat Death) to explore this text as a metaphysical conceit. What previously unlikely comparison allows us to gain new insight? + how/why
    8. Explore how the theme of consumption is used. + how/why
    9. How / why does Sarah Boyle experience a crisis in identity? + how/why
  2. ____ gives life value. + how/why
  3. Structure. + how/why
  4. Anti-hero? Modwern Hero? Tragic hero? What is she?
  5. Critical Lens: Paragraph (insert number) or “a quote from the story” can be used to analyze the rest story as (what is being revealed). + how/why
  6. Other idea? The possibilities are endless. + how/why



Idea Bank for Two or More Works:

  1. Develop a controlling idea about two works we read.  Consider one or more of the following ideas + how/why:
    1. Community
    2. Consumption
    3. Earth Abides
    4. Perils of Technology
    5. Ouroboros
    6. Entropy
    7. Devolution
    8. Paradise, beauty
  2. Explore how imbalanced societies cannot last.  + how/why or examine how society/civilization is built/maintained + how/why
  3. Select one passage from one work to use as a base for analyzing the other/s. + how/why
  4. Examine the structure of the works.  How is the structure important to understanding the content? + how/why
  5. Opposing forces reveal ______.+ how/why
  6. ____ gives life value. The texts force the reader to contemplate ____. + how/why
  7. Select an allusion / symbol from each work and explore how it is important to the work as a whole. + how/why
  8. Other idea?


For either essay, please work on your formal writing strategies.






·        Never take reading short cuts such as Sparknotes or Wikipedia, etc. What’s the point?

·        Never, ever plagiarize. Whether it be a phrase, an idea, or analysis from any uncited source other than yourself, it is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional use of someone else’s ideas and presenting them as your own. Even the smallest infraction will result in termination of your project. Always cite any words or ideas from anywhere other than your own mind. See above MLA citing.

·        Do not plot summarize. Select your evidence deliberately.

·        Do not be sloppy. This is not a text, and you should not rush.  Even a paper that has sound ideas but is sloppy cannot receive higher than a B.

·        Do not wait until the last minute to complete your reading or writing.

·        Do not use “I” or “you” in your writing.